I love a tidy home and prefer it to be organized. Even when I was a kid, my belongings always had their place. Its carried me all the way through my military and my adult life. I seem to have been gifted exceptional mad organizational skills. And now, I’ve channeled them into our RV. So, I asked myself, “why not share my How-To Guide to RV Organization and Storage”.
So, pour your favorite five-o’clock-somewhere, grab a comfy seat and come see how I did it…
I think those who do the whole RV life thing know that it isn’t all about adventure and exploring. Its also about living simple with less clutter. Of course, I totally admit this is a far cry from what we were living five short years ago as homeowners of a large five bedroom, three bathroom home.
From S&B to RV…
Before selling our sticks and bricks, we successfully sold, donated, gave away, and trashed everything we didn’t want. You can read about how we did that in our Full-Time RVing: 8 Tips for Getting Rid of Your Stuff.
We then, moved what little was left into our RV. Favorably for us, our RV was parked only seven miles from our S&B. I’d only take one or two boxes at a time so I didn’t feel so overwhelmed.
In this blog, I want to share those mad organizational skills and how I’ve achieved our small and simple living without sacrifice. I hope you’ll find these tips helpful and not difficult to do.
HERE’S HOW WE DID IT!
Our RV organization and storage process started with minimizing our possessions. Even after moving our belongings into our RV, we still found ourselves pairing down quite a bit. Did we really need a hair dryer? (I have short hair). Would we really need an ironing board? (who has time to iron?) Why would we need 8 dinner plates and 10 glasses? (We don’t get that much company!) You get the picture.
Then, we seriously needed to take our RV weight limit seriously. So, my favorite heavy crock casserole dishes? GONE! My brand new heavy cast iron campfire cooking set? HIT THE ROAD! Three extra thick blankets? BUH BYE! I had set aside a couple empty boxes in our toyhauler garage to put what we didn’t need (more like ‘couldn’t have’) into and then hauled them off destinations unknown.
Once I’ve paired down and kept what we absolutely needed or wanted, it was time to organize. I’d separate all of our electronic and tech gadgets extra linens, kitchen items, household essentials, etc. into piles. Looking back, we were so blessed to have our toyhauler garage to work out of instead of tripping over everything. It allowed me time to really plan my organization strategy.
After organizing our belongings into categories, I’d then prioritize them by usage. Since we have cabinets that would need a step stool to reach them, I planned for items used less often to be stored in the harder-to-reach cabinets. And, of course, the lower cabinets would be for essentials used more frequently. Placement was key; kitchen items of course, kept in or very close to the kitchen, small guidebooks and maps near the recliners, and extra linens in the top step-stool cabinets above the sofa (then).
Once I’ve figured out what would go into each cabinet, I’d measure the inside of the cabinet (height x width x depth). I’d take into account of shelf lips and hinges that may extend. I’d then see what I was storing and decide whether I wanted one big basket or multiple smaller baskets.
I’d label and record each measurements on a piece of paper as well as in my phone. Then, I’d have those measurements everywhere I’d go should I be out shopping and happen upon some interesting baskets. Also, I’d keep a small sewing tape measure in our truck or pocketbook.
Now, keep in mind, square or rectangular straight-sided baskets are the best for solid cabinet storage. I’d want to utilize every inch I could. I didn’t want baskets that tapered to the bottom. That would just be lost storage space.
Shop and Stow!
Now comes the fun part; shopping for baskets or containers and stowing them! In our experience, the best baskets to store your belongings in your cabinets are rectangular and have handles. Flimsy baskets will lose their shape and may collapse.
Lucky for me, while we were in Lowes’ Home Improvement one day, I spotted about 10 simple cube storage bins (very similar to the ones in the photo below) in their clearance section! I bought them all because their measurements were perfect for what I needed for some of the cabinets.
Then for others, I found some on Amazon. Personally, I like to order the same baskets to put in all of the cabinets if I could. It makes for a tidy and clean appearance.
Also, I prefer tight-weave with sturdy inserts so nothing falls out through any holes. Personally, I love stiff duck cloth baskets with rope handles because they hold their shape and have a longer handle making it easy-grabbing from higher cabinets. Plus, they look so stylish and cute even if I leave them out.
Now, anytime I need to get something out of the cabinets, its as simple as pulling down a basket. No more getting smacked in the face with projectiles and it leaves more ice for our bourbon.
I’d also designate certain cabinets for our Always On Liberty branded gear, batteries, small USB fans, dehumidifiers, travel maps and brochures, and even some holiday decorations. And of course, I’d need a place to store cute little things we pick up for our Grandson.
One more tip!
Now, we all have those items that are just too awkward to store into baskets, yet, we still had to figure out a way to keep them secure in their respective cabinet spaces without tumbling out that would require more ice for cracked heads. So, we bought these extension curtain rods. In fact, we bought one (or two) for almost every cabinet.
Again, having our cabinet measurements with me, I’d buy several extension rods accordingly. Sometimes, depending on what was in each cabinet, I may purchase 2 or three to make doubly-triply certain I wasn’t going to empty my ice tray after parking our RV.
So, this concludes the first section of our Small and Simple Living Without Sacrifice series. Now, you’ll want to keep checking back to our blog as we will be adding more organization and storage solutions.
Though we have mastered it but we still work on it every day! We have to because, living in a small space, whether an RV, boat, small house or one-room apartment, its all the same. However, one bone of contention with RV living is not only do we have to worry about space, but also weight. But again, we’ve manage quite proficiently.
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